PREMATURE OVARIAN INSUFFICIENCY (POI)
What is POI?
POI occurs when a woman’s ovaries run out of eggs before the age of 40 years.
What causes POI?
For most women, the cause of POI is not found. Recognised causes include:
- genetic (there may be a family history);
- infective, for example, history of mumps;
- autoimmune disease, often associated with adrenal or thyroid conditions; or
- medical or surgical treatments, for example chemo/radiotherapy.
What is the impact of POI on health and well-being?
Although not impossible, POI significantly reduces the chances of achieving a pregnancy with your own eggs. If left untreated, POI can also reduce physical and emotional quality of life and in the long term it can affect the health of the bones, heart and brain.
A diagnosis of POI may impact your emotional well-being, so it could be helpful to contact a mental health professional or support group.
How is POI diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask about family history and perform blood tests (repeated four to six weeks apart) to measure the level of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and estrogen levels. High FSH levels and low estrogen levels mean that it is likely that you are experiencing POI.
What are the treatment options?
It is important to prioritise a healthy diet, regular exercise and emotional well-being.Symptoms can be successfully treated with hormone therapy, either with:
- natural hormones which mimic your own body’s ovarian hormones, such as estrogen/progesterone/testosterone; or
- the combined oral contraceptive pill.
Contact your healthcare provider for further support.
All information was sourced from World Menopause Day 2020 and International Menopause Society.